Camille Corot – “landscape poet” who inspired both the impressionists and the authors of fake artists
Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot – French painter of the era of romanticism, “landscape poet”, who influenced the emergence of impressionism. During his long life, he created several thousand paintings in his own unique style. But in addition to his merits in art, Koro has a special status – an artist whose name has been signed by numerous fakes for more than a hundred years. What are the reasons that the false works of Camille Corot are so widespread in the world?
Romantic landscape painter
Camille Corot was born in Paris in 1796. His family was not related to art, his father was the owner of an atelier and assumed that his son would follow in his footsteps. However, starting at age 26, Camille decided to devote himself to teaching painting, and therefore refused to participate in the family business and entered the workshop of Achile Mishalon. Later, Corot traveled to Italy, where his style gained its identity, and the style of writing became freer and easier.
The source of inspiration for Koro was lakes, fields, forests and roads – he did not need special, exotic species to create a work. The artist painted quickly, being impressed by what he saw in front of him – be it dawn, bad weather, the movement of the wind, the breath of spring. His paintings are characterized by some incompleteness, lack of detail. The artist believed that returning to the canvas after losing inspiration for its creation harms the work, “the original harmonious coloring is lost.”
The landscapes of Corot are really characterized by incredible harmony. It is achieved, among other things, by working with valers – gradations of tones, shades, which the artist totaled up to twenty in each color. Due to this monochrome and at the same time a wealth of transitional shades, the landscapes are distinguished by air saturation, a sense of movement and variability.
The legacy of several thousand paintings
Camille Corot’s works were accepted by both the public and official salons, which exhibited paintings by recognized masters of the era. Since 1827, Corot participated in all Paris exhibitions of the Academy of Fine Arts. Even while dying, he left several paintings that were supposed to take part in the salon after his death.
Over the 78 years of his life, the artist has created about 3,000 works, most of them landscapes, but there are a number of portraits, as well as paintings with mythological and religious subjects, etchings and etchings.
Nevertheless, in the market of works of art there were and are several times more works, whose author is also called Camille Corot.
Demand creates supply
It is known that Koro used to help his students finish their work, and on those canvases that he liked, he gladly left a signature – as an autograph or a kind of quality mark. So, in 1976, it was found that one of the paintings, signed by Camille Corot and located at the Cornell Museum in New York, is actually the work of one of his students.
The demand for paintings by European artists since the end of the 19th century has been steadily growing – primarily thanks to connoisseurs of painting and collectors from the United States. Coro really liked the Americans, and demand created supply – under the “brand” Koro sold the work of artists of his school, and just fakes. In 1940, Newsweek reporters joked that “out of 2,500 paintings painted by Koro during his life, 7,800 are in America.”
Camille Corot is not the only artist whose name is used to sell fakes. Another such master was Natalia Goncharova.